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Rent your own cloud-based server computer

By Jean-Claude Elias - Oct 22,2015 - Last updated at Oct 22,2015

Your business needs a server computer but you cannot afford to buy one, and even less to pay an expensive qualified IT team of technicians and engineers to run it and service it. Here comes — one more time — the cloud to the rescue. Would that be a perfect alternative?

In a general manner cloud usage is steadily increasing. The increase is not only quantitative but also qualitative. Countless services now offer cloud-based server computers to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SoftLayer and GoDaddy are two typical examples of companies providing such advanced online services.

Renting and using an online server means that your enterprise can save itself the burden and the cost of having to buy, install, and much more importantly to maintain a physical server machine in its premises. Instead it can rent one in the cloud, one that would provide it with the same kind of services and functionality as a locally installed machine would.

Using cloud-based servers’ services, understandably, is not work that the casual home user can handle, but then again if you need such services chances you are that a business entity and not a home user. An IT specialist, one would usually do and be enough, is still a must to make use of the product, be it physically in your premises or in the cloud.

Without going into technical details that wouldn’t be pertinent in this space, one can assert that the concept is great and relieves SMEs from a significant, heavy load of expenses and worries, technical and managerial. As far as features and functions are concerned the online service will provide everything that a local physical machine would.

So should your SME go for it?

As it is often the case one would start with a cost comparison. The average rent is in the range of $200 to $400 per month for a medium-size server. At first this may not seem cheap for an SME. However, when you consider what this actually saves you, the online formula becomes a winner. If the initial purchase of a small server machine today is more or less affordable ($2000 to $4000), companies know that it is the running cost that usually hurts. Indeed, the cost of the base hardware is almost nothing compared to the cost of software licences, the engineers’ salaries and social charges, the room, the power protection devices, the air conditioning that must be running 24/7, the backups, the routine maintenance, etc.

If cost, efficiency, functionality and convenience are not issues, it boils down to one thing in the end — as always: it’s all about how good your Internet connection is. For it is truly the main artery of the system; the Internet connection is for your network what the aorta is to your heart and this is where you should start. Without a fast and very reliable connectivity to the Web an online server would be futile.

Fortunately it is becoming more and more common, and less and less expensive, for SMEs to opt for Internet subscriptions that are based on fibre optics, the kind that ensures significant bandwidth, unlimited monthly quota (i.e. the quantity of upload and download) and virtually 99.99 per cent uptime. The cost of such professional subscriptions is to take into consideration as well.

 

Last but not least, there will always be businesses, however small or big, that will be reluctant to trust the Web and put all their information and software applications on a cloud-based server. It’s the sempiternal question of data safety and confidentiality, and there is not going to be a perfect answer or solution to that any time soon.

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